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Overview:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) oversees the quality of education received by students in elementary and secondary (high school) schools across the United States. This is done through their nine main programs: Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs, Impact Aid Programs, Office of Indian Education, Office of Migrant Education, School Support and Rural Programs, Office of Early Learning, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, Office of School Turnaround, and School Achievement and School Accountability Programs. Through these programs the OESE works to improve the quality of teaching and learning within elementary and secondary schools as well as ensure equal access to services and ensure equal opportunity.

 

An example of one of OESE’s programs is their Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program. The program is administered by the Office of Early Learning. The purpose of the Early Childhood program is to enhance the school readiness of young children, particularly those who are disadvantaged. In an effort to prevent these kids from encountering reading difficulties in school, the program seeks to improve the knowledge and skills of educators who work in high-poverty communities. 

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History:

The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. 

 

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) was a part of the new Department of Education and was created to enforce and implement the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (pdf)—an an outgrowth of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”—and its many amendments, and to formulate funding programs related to Elementary and Secondary Education. Its 2001 reauthorization was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (pdf), a state-standards-based system for disadvantaged students. Proposed and championed by President George W. Bush, the Act had bipartisan support. A decade since its implementation, the law has gotten mixed reviews, with critics decrying an overemphasis on testing that they claim has often proven ineffective and subject to manipulation. In 2010, President Obama proposed a plan to reform ESEA and NCLB, an announcement that came on the heels of his 2009 Race to the Top competition, a $4.35 billion program that awards states that excel in meeting certain educational standards. Pending reauthorization of ESEA, the Obama administration’s ED invited states, in September 2011, to apply for waivers from the widely unpopular NCLB.

 

Whether or not the OESE’s programs and policies have been successful in improving the quality of education across the U.S. has been greatly debated. The constitutionality of the Department of Education itself has also been highly questioned since the first Office of Education was created in the late 1800s and abolished soon after. The federal government’s involvement into education has been called an unconstitutional intrusion into state and community affairs, and many presidential candidates had the department’s abolition as a platform for their campaigns.

 

After the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Department of Education’s budget increased by over 66% from 2002 to 2004, with steady increases up to 2009.

An Administrative History of the Creation of the U.S. Department of Education (by L.C. Rampp, J. Stephen Guffey, Marsha Kidd Guffey)

A Brief History of the United States Department of Education: 1979–2002 (by D.T. Stallings) (pdf)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as Amended Reports to Congress, 2002-2010 (U.S. Department of Education)

more
What it Does:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) programs are authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and were reauthorized by numerous amendments to that Act and also the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

 

The Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs administers several formula and discretionary grant programs. Their grants and programs are aimed at after school learning center services, improving the quality of teaching—setting a universal standard as well as programs that ensure that students, especially low-performing students, can meet State academic content. The organization of these programs is administrated by executive policy and legislative proposals.

 

Impact Aid Programs disperse impact aid payments to local education agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities, such as local education agencies obligation, and the activities needed, to meet the requirements of the NCLB. The school districts that these aid payments are allocated to are school districts with portions of land that are owned by the federal government or that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property. This includes Indian lands, military bases, and low-rent housing properties. The challenge that these schools face is they must provide a quality education to the Indian and other Federal lands while working with less local revenue that is available to other local school districts. Congress has been providing financial assistance to these school districts through the Impact Aid Program since 1950.   

 

Office of Indian Education was created to meet the educational needs of American Indians and Alaskan Natives by supporting the efforts of local educational agencies, Indian Tribes and postsecondary institutions, with the goal of giving these children the ability to achieve the same challenging state standards as all students. 

 

Office of Migrant Education administers grant programs that are aimed at providing academic and other services to children of migrant works. These funds are given to ensure that migratory children are provided with appropriate education services in order for them to not be penalized in any manner by disparities, in terms of graduation requirements understanding the curriculum and other state content. The main goal of the grants is to make sure that migrant children’s special needs are meet and that they graduate with a high school diploma. 

 

Some examples of the services that are provided by educational institutions as a result of the grants are: bilingual and multicultural instruction, career education services, counseling and testing services, health services, and preschool services. 

 

School Support and Rural Programs provide funds for education technology, school facilities, parent information assistance centers, and comprehensive education assistance centers, as well as administering the implementation of flexibility provisions in the NCLB. The flexibility initiatives give states and schools districts and others, flexibility in how they use federal program funds, form the School Support and Technology Programs that support school improvement funds. 

 

Another example of a School Support and Rural Program is the ED Tech State Program that gave grants with the goal of improving student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools.     

 

Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs works to improve the academic achievement of students in schools that serve low-income communities. This is accomplished primarily through the administration of programs under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This office works to improve teaching and learning in public schools by holding educators accountable to getting each student to achieve at high levels. 

 

Office of Early Learning supports the Early Learning Initiative with the goal of improving the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for primarily high-need children from birth through third grade. The OEL collaborates with other offices and agencies to support early learning programs.

 

Office of Safe and Healthy Students oversees policies for improving programs that support drug and violence prevention, promotion of student health and well-being, school preparedness, homeland security, citizenship, and civics education. In September 2011, the programs that survived the axe after the closing of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools were adopted by this new office.

 

Office of School Turnaround provides financial assistance to states to help improve student outcomes in the lowest-performing schools, and supports initiatives to implement reforms to turn around those schools.

 

OESE Organization Chart

 

 

Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation (Editorial Projects in Education Research Center) (pdf)


From the Web Site of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Archived Information

Contact Information

Data Express

Flexibility and Waivers

Labs and Centers

Legislation

NCLB Legislation and Policies

News

Policy Guidance

Programs and Initiatives

Regulations

Reports and Publications

Standards, Assessment and Accountability

State Performance Reports

Topic Index

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) spent about $41.3 million on more than 150 contractor transactions between FY 2002 and FY 2012, according to USAspending.gov. The top five products and services purchased by the OESE during that period were educational studies and analyses  ($13,301,363), technical assistance ($9,216,872), educational services ($5,997,256), ADP systems development ($3,436,332), and special educational studies and analysis ($2,707,614). The top five recipients of this contractor spending were:

 

1. WestEd                                                                   $10,483,000   

2. Dixon Group Inc.                                                     $6,546,033   

3. Synergy Enterprises Inc.                                           $4,453,022   

4. Learning Point Associates                                        $3,523,421   

5. Deloitte LLP                                                             $3,345,646

more
Controversies:

There have been several controversies surrounding whether or not Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) programs are actually improving the quality of education in the U.S. One of these controversies surrounded the OESE’s Reading First program and its effectiveness. Reading First, an important $1-billion-a-year component of the No Child Left Behind law, awarded grants to states that were used to pay for teaching materials and training.

 

The inspector General of the Department of Education, John P. Higgins, accused the Reading First program of cronyism. The Reading First Program’s Grant Application Process – Final Inspection Report (pdf), issued in September 2006, explains how the Department of Education (ED) and Reading First administrators used their authority to benefit the commercial product, “Direct Instruction.” The report detailed a Federal Government goal of dominating all reading instruction, pointing out the close relationship between the Department of Education and “expert review panels.”

 

The Inspector General found that the Department of Education dealt with the expert review panels in ways that were contrary to the panel composition envisioned by Congress. The panels were created with the idea of having a non-biased critique on the educational programs or polices they were presented with. The Department of Education also intervened in order to influence a state’s selection of a reading program, as well as influenced the reading programs being used by local educational agencies.

 

The Inspector General also accused Education Department officials of violating conflict of interest rules by maneuvering contracts to favored textbook publishers. These actions revealed a lack of accountability and undermined trust in the Department. It also led to a 2007 congressional investigation and a 60% cut in the Reading First funding.

 

A 2008 federal study of the program (pdf), conducted by ED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), showed that students’ reading skills were no different whether they were taught at schools that received Reading First funding or not. Gary Stager, a professor at Pepperdine University and Senior Editor of District Administration Magazine, stated that the Reading First program reduced “teachers to script-reading robots and reading to an onerous task.” 

 

Acknowledging the study and the scandals that plagued the program, Sen. Edward Kennedy claimed that the George W. Bush administration “put cronyism first and the reading skills of our children last, and this report shows the disturbing consequences. Instead of awarding scarce education dollars to reading programs that make a difference for our children, the administration chose to reward its friends instead.”

 

The program was defunded and canceled shortly thereafter.

Questions about the US Dept. of Education's Reading First Program Application Process (by Robert A. Southworth, Jr., EdSpeak) (pdf)

Study: Bush's Reading First program ineffective (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

Improving Teacher Quality with Communities of Practice (by Joanne Cashman, Elizabeth Laflin, and Kathleen Paliokas, New Eyes) (pdf)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Reforms for the ESEA

Experts from the left and the right came together in 2012 to jointly offer up a series of reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2001 as No Child Left Behind, but first established during the Great Society efforts of the 1960s.

 

The American Enterprise Institute and Center for American Progress collaborated in an effort to raise the public profile of what they said were many very important but often overlooked Title I provisions apart from those involving accountability for student achievement—that is, the financial assistance sections dealing with allocations of funds.

 

Their plan was not to delve into fundamental questions about the federal role in public education or the broader aspects of reforming the ESEA.

 

Instead, the two organizations focused on “requirements that are often regarded as obscure, technical, or otherwise unglamorous,” the report stated.

 

“And while it is certainly true that No Child Left Behind’s accountability system gets the

lion’s share of the attention, we would argue that these seemingly mundane provisions

may well prove more significant when it comes to what goes on in America’s schools

and school systems day-to-day,” the report added.

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Offers a New Chance to Improve Education (by Raegen T. Miller, Frederick M. Hess and Cynthia G. Brown, American Enterprise Institute and Center for American Progress) (pdf)

 

Obama’s Reforms for ESEA

President Barack Obama unveiled in 2010 a sweeping overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2001 as No Child Left Behind, which intended to change how schools were judged on their performance.

 

Many of Obama’s reforms, coming with the reauthorization of the ESEA, consisted of suggestions offered by critics of the law, including those from teachers’ unions, associations of principals, school boards, and other groups.

 

The Obama administration insisted it was committed to shrinking the achievement gap between minority and white students and encouraging teacher quality.

 

One significant change involved federal financing formulas. The reform would have altered how a portion of federal money was awarded based on academic progress, instead of relying on formulas that apportion money to districts according to their numbers of students, especially poor students.

 

Another revision would eliminate the 2014 deadline requiring that all American students reach academic proficiency.

ESEA Reauthorization: A Blueprint for Reform (U.S. Department of Education)

A Blueprint for Reform (U.S. Department of Education)

Obama to Seek Sweeping Change in ‘No Child’ Law (by Sam Dillon, New York Times)

Senate Education Panel Approves ESEA Overhaul (by Alyson Klein, Education Week)

Starting From Scratch With ESEA (by Marshall Smith, Education Week)

more
Debate:

Should Common Core State Standards be scrapped?

Common Core, which promotes voluntary national standards in math and reading, came into being in 2009, when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced plans to establish such standards.

 

All but four states—Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia—signed on to the standards and agreed to help implement them by 2014. The movement was aided by President Barack Obama, who decided to link Common Core standards to billions of dollars in federal grants.

 

This decision enraged conservatives, who object to the federal government meddling in state education policy. Other critics of the standards insist they will do little to help children learn and will cost some states billions.

State Costs for Adopting and Implementing the Common Core State Standards (by Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation)

Common Core Wars – The Stakes Keep Getting Higher (BC Culture)

 

Pro (scrap them):

In a report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, it was argued that Common Core State Standards will do little to impact student learning. The study noted that states have had curricular standards for schools for many years, and that the data on the effects of these standards showed that the quality of state standards is not related to state achievement and the rigor of state standards is also unrelated to achievement.

 

Other critics expressed fear that Common Core is really not about helping students receive a better education, but lining the pockets of testing companies that contract with state education departments to provide standardized tests.

How Well are American Students Learning (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings)

Common Core Standards Drive Wedge In Education Circles (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

 

Con (keep them):

Supporters of Common Core say the standards will provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

 

They add that the standards will be designed to be “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”

 

This, in turn, will help the nation as future generations will become better prepared to compete in the global economy.

 

Furthermore, supporters dispute the notion that adopting common standards will bring all states’ standards down to the lowest common denominator.

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Myths About Content and Quality: General (Common Core State Standards Initiative)

more

Comments

N Kyle 6 years ago
and here is another entity dealing with problems of native americans. frankly--they do not need that much help. they seem to be getting along just fine without our government interference. they govern themselves and are not stupid.
Eva 6 years ago
i recently moved here to texas from california. she recently graduated and i feel the transition was from california and she was not prepared to living here in texas the services here there is a 8 to 10 year waiting period! her mentally is of a four year old and only available services for her here are adult senior day care facilities! crying out for help not for myself but for her. please guide me to the right resources.
Eva Garcia 6 years ago
my name is eva garcia, i have a daughter. her name is arianna, she is mentally retarded. we recently moved to texas from california. here in texas there is a 8 to 10 year waiting list for services for special needs individuals. for my daughter to receive services i would have to commit her to a facility and award her to the state of texas so she could receive services faster. arianna has behavorial problems which alot of the facilities here in south texas are not equipped to handle....
Virginia McClanahan 7 years ago
Dear Sen. Arne Duncan, I just wanted to thank you for emphasizing the importance of our childrens' future. As an educator in the PreK-6 grade level, I too do feel that we need to integrate the arts in our public school system. I teach fourth grade as of now. I don't know what grade I'll be teaching next year, no one really does, because of the budget cuts. I also stay two days a week for extracurricular time after school for my drama club activities. The students I teach for these ...

Leave a comment

Founded: The OESE was established as an office within the Department of Education when it was created and set apart from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1980.
Annual Budget: $15.7 billion (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 252 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Whalen, Ann
Previous Assistant Secretary

Ann Whalen, who has worked in the Department of Education under Secretaries John King and Arne Duncan, was nominated on April 7, 2016, to be Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

Whalen is from Chicago, one of five children of attorney Wayne Whalen and Paula Wolff, a longtime player in Illinois and Chicago politics under Democratic and Republican administrations. Wolff is currently director of the Illinois Justice Project and the family is friendly with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Whalen attended Chicago schools, but went to Stanford for college, earning a B.A. in political science.

 

She returned to Chicago and in 2002 began work for the city as a project administrator in its Department of Planning and Development.

 

The following year, Whalen moved over to Chicago Public Schools, where she began her association with Duncan. Her first post was as Deputy Director for Special Initiatives working under Duncan, who was the district’s CEO. In 2006, Whalen was made Deputy to the Chief Education Officer.

 

She moved to Washington after Obama was inaugurated in 2009 to serve as special assistant to Duncan. The following year, she was named Director of the Implementation Support Unit, which gives technical assistance to states and districts that are putting reform programs in place, including the Race to the Top program.

 

Whalen left government service in 2014 to become Director of Policy for Education Post, a website dedicated to improving public schools. She returned to the Education Department in 2015 as special adviser to the Secretary, serving as acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

 

To Learn More:

Official Announcement

Ann Whalen Returns to Education Department as Senior Adviser (by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week)

more
Delisle, Deborah
Former Assistant Secretary

A former elementary school teacher has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education. Deborah S. Delisle, who has stated her “firm belief that a zip code should never predetermine the quality of a child’s education,” was nominated on January 23, but the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has yet to schedule her confirmation hearing.

 

Born in Connecticut in September 1953, Delisle earned a B.S. in Education at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and an M.Ed. in Special Education at Kent State University in 1986. Delisle began her career as an elementary teacher in Connecticut in the 1970s, relocated to Ohio in 1983, and has served in many roles over the years at the school district level, including as School Principal, Director of Academic Services, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programs.

 

From 2001 to 2003, she served as Associate Superintendent for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (CHUHSD) in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, and as Superintendent from March 2004 to 2008. She then served as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department of Education from October 2008 to April 2011. The end of her tenure was controversial, for her resignation letter charged that Republican Governor John Kasich forced her out by threatening her with dismissal. In a show of support and appreciation, in August 2011 CHUHSD named a building in her honor, the Deborah S. Delisle Educational Options Center, which houses the district’s registration and assessment office for transfer students and an alternative high school.

 

Delisle has served on several education boards, including the Governing Board of the Minority Student Achievement Network, Executive Board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Board. In addition to working in primary and secondary education, Delisle has taught graduate level courses at Kent State, Ursuline College, the University of North Colorado and Simon Frasier University in British Columbia.

 

She is married to Dr. James R. Delisle, a retired professor of education who specializes in issues related to gifted children. They have one son, Matt, now an adult.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Former Ohio Schools Chief Deb Delisle Explains What Ohio Can Teach the Nation (by Molly Bloom, NPR/State Impact)

State Schools Superintendent Deborah Delisle Resigns (by Karen Farkas, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Meet Deb Delisle, Ohio’s New Superintendent (by Deborah Delisle, Columbus Parent)

Deborah Delisle Named State’s New Education Chief (by Karl Turner, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) oversees the quality of education received by students in elementary and secondary (high school) schools across the United States. This is done through their nine main programs: Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs, Impact Aid Programs, Office of Indian Education, Office of Migrant Education, School Support and Rural Programs, Office of Early Learning, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, Office of School Turnaround, and School Achievement and School Accountability Programs. Through these programs the OESE works to improve the quality of teaching and learning within elementary and secondary schools as well as ensure equal access to services and ensure equal opportunity.

 

An example of one of OESE’s programs is their Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program. The program is administered by the Office of Early Learning. The purpose of the Early Childhood program is to enhance the school readiness of young children, particularly those who are disadvantaged. In an effort to prevent these kids from encountering reading difficulties in school, the program seeks to improve the knowledge and skills of educators who work in high-poverty communities. 

more
History:

The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. 

 

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) was a part of the new Department of Education and was created to enforce and implement the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (pdf)—an an outgrowth of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”—and its many amendments, and to formulate funding programs related to Elementary and Secondary Education. Its 2001 reauthorization was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (pdf), a state-standards-based system for disadvantaged students. Proposed and championed by President George W. Bush, the Act had bipartisan support. A decade since its implementation, the law has gotten mixed reviews, with critics decrying an overemphasis on testing that they claim has often proven ineffective and subject to manipulation. In 2010, President Obama proposed a plan to reform ESEA and NCLB, an announcement that came on the heels of his 2009 Race to the Top competition, a $4.35 billion program that awards states that excel in meeting certain educational standards. Pending reauthorization of ESEA, the Obama administration’s ED invited states, in September 2011, to apply for waivers from the widely unpopular NCLB.

 

Whether or not the OESE’s programs and policies have been successful in improving the quality of education across the U.S. has been greatly debated. The constitutionality of the Department of Education itself has also been highly questioned since the first Office of Education was created in the late 1800s and abolished soon after. The federal government’s involvement into education has been called an unconstitutional intrusion into state and community affairs, and many presidential candidates had the department’s abolition as a platform for their campaigns.

 

After the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Department of Education’s budget increased by over 66% from 2002 to 2004, with steady increases up to 2009.

An Administrative History of the Creation of the U.S. Department of Education (by L.C. Rampp, J. Stephen Guffey, Marsha Kidd Guffey)

A Brief History of the United States Department of Education: 1979–2002 (by D.T. Stallings) (pdf)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as Amended Reports to Congress, 2002-2010 (U.S. Department of Education)

more
What it Does:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) programs are authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and were reauthorized by numerous amendments to that Act and also the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

 

The Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs administers several formula and discretionary grant programs. Their grants and programs are aimed at after school learning center services, improving the quality of teaching—setting a universal standard as well as programs that ensure that students, especially low-performing students, can meet State academic content. The organization of these programs is administrated by executive policy and legislative proposals.

 

Impact Aid Programs disperse impact aid payments to local education agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities, such as local education agencies obligation, and the activities needed, to meet the requirements of the NCLB. The school districts that these aid payments are allocated to are school districts with portions of land that are owned by the federal government or that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property. This includes Indian lands, military bases, and low-rent housing properties. The challenge that these schools face is they must provide a quality education to the Indian and other Federal lands while working with less local revenue that is available to other local school districts. Congress has been providing financial assistance to these school districts through the Impact Aid Program since 1950.   

 

Office of Indian Education was created to meet the educational needs of American Indians and Alaskan Natives by supporting the efforts of local educational agencies, Indian Tribes and postsecondary institutions, with the goal of giving these children the ability to achieve the same challenging state standards as all students. 

 

Office of Migrant Education administers grant programs that are aimed at providing academic and other services to children of migrant works. These funds are given to ensure that migratory children are provided with appropriate education services in order for them to not be penalized in any manner by disparities, in terms of graduation requirements understanding the curriculum and other state content. The main goal of the grants is to make sure that migrant children’s special needs are meet and that they graduate with a high school diploma. 

 

Some examples of the services that are provided by educational institutions as a result of the grants are: bilingual and multicultural instruction, career education services, counseling and testing services, health services, and preschool services. 

 

School Support and Rural Programs provide funds for education technology, school facilities, parent information assistance centers, and comprehensive education assistance centers, as well as administering the implementation of flexibility provisions in the NCLB. The flexibility initiatives give states and schools districts and others, flexibility in how they use federal program funds, form the School Support and Technology Programs that support school improvement funds. 

 

Another example of a School Support and Rural Program is the ED Tech State Program that gave grants with the goal of improving student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools.     

 

Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs works to improve the academic achievement of students in schools that serve low-income communities. This is accomplished primarily through the administration of programs under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This office works to improve teaching and learning in public schools by holding educators accountable to getting each student to achieve at high levels. 

 

Office of Early Learning supports the Early Learning Initiative with the goal of improving the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for primarily high-need children from birth through third grade. The OEL collaborates with other offices and agencies to support early learning programs.

 

Office of Safe and Healthy Students oversees policies for improving programs that support drug and violence prevention, promotion of student health and well-being, school preparedness, homeland security, citizenship, and civics education. In September 2011, the programs that survived the axe after the closing of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools were adopted by this new office.

 

Office of School Turnaround provides financial assistance to states to help improve student outcomes in the lowest-performing schools, and supports initiatives to implement reforms to turn around those schools.

 

OESE Organization Chart

 

 

Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation (Editorial Projects in Education Research Center) (pdf)


From the Web Site of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Archived Information

Contact Information

Data Express

Flexibility and Waivers

Labs and Centers

Legislation

NCLB Legislation and Policies

News

Policy Guidance

Programs and Initiatives

Regulations

Reports and Publications

Standards, Assessment and Accountability

State Performance Reports

Topic Index

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) spent about $41.3 million on more than 150 contractor transactions between FY 2002 and FY 2012, according to USAspending.gov. The top five products and services purchased by the OESE during that period were educational studies and analyses  ($13,301,363), technical assistance ($9,216,872), educational services ($5,997,256), ADP systems development ($3,436,332), and special educational studies and analysis ($2,707,614). The top five recipients of this contractor spending were:

 

1. WestEd                                                                   $10,483,000   

2. Dixon Group Inc.                                                     $6,546,033   

3. Synergy Enterprises Inc.                                           $4,453,022   

4. Learning Point Associates                                        $3,523,421   

5. Deloitte LLP                                                             $3,345,646

more
Controversies:

There have been several controversies surrounding whether or not Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) programs are actually improving the quality of education in the U.S. One of these controversies surrounded the OESE’s Reading First program and its effectiveness. Reading First, an important $1-billion-a-year component of the No Child Left Behind law, awarded grants to states that were used to pay for teaching materials and training.

 

The inspector General of the Department of Education, John P. Higgins, accused the Reading First program of cronyism. The Reading First Program’s Grant Application Process – Final Inspection Report (pdf), issued in September 2006, explains how the Department of Education (ED) and Reading First administrators used their authority to benefit the commercial product, “Direct Instruction.” The report detailed a Federal Government goal of dominating all reading instruction, pointing out the close relationship between the Department of Education and “expert review panels.”

 

The Inspector General found that the Department of Education dealt with the expert review panels in ways that were contrary to the panel composition envisioned by Congress. The panels were created with the idea of having a non-biased critique on the educational programs or polices they were presented with. The Department of Education also intervened in order to influence a state’s selection of a reading program, as well as influenced the reading programs being used by local educational agencies.

 

The Inspector General also accused Education Department officials of violating conflict of interest rules by maneuvering contracts to favored textbook publishers. These actions revealed a lack of accountability and undermined trust in the Department. It also led to a 2007 congressional investigation and a 60% cut in the Reading First funding.

 

A 2008 federal study of the program (pdf), conducted by ED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), showed that students’ reading skills were no different whether they were taught at schools that received Reading First funding or not. Gary Stager, a professor at Pepperdine University and Senior Editor of District Administration Magazine, stated that the Reading First program reduced “teachers to script-reading robots and reading to an onerous task.” 

 

Acknowledging the study and the scandals that plagued the program, Sen. Edward Kennedy claimed that the George W. Bush administration “put cronyism first and the reading skills of our children last, and this report shows the disturbing consequences. Instead of awarding scarce education dollars to reading programs that make a difference for our children, the administration chose to reward its friends instead.”

 

The program was defunded and canceled shortly thereafter.

Questions about the US Dept. of Education's Reading First Program Application Process (by Robert A. Southworth, Jr., EdSpeak) (pdf)

Study: Bush's Reading First program ineffective (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

Improving Teacher Quality with Communities of Practice (by Joanne Cashman, Elizabeth Laflin, and Kathleen Paliokas, New Eyes) (pdf)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Reforms for the ESEA

Experts from the left and the right came together in 2012 to jointly offer up a series of reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2001 as No Child Left Behind, but first established during the Great Society efforts of the 1960s.

 

The American Enterprise Institute and Center for American Progress collaborated in an effort to raise the public profile of what they said were many very important but often overlooked Title I provisions apart from those involving accountability for student achievement—that is, the financial assistance sections dealing with allocations of funds.

 

Their plan was not to delve into fundamental questions about the federal role in public education or the broader aspects of reforming the ESEA.

 

Instead, the two organizations focused on “requirements that are often regarded as obscure, technical, or otherwise unglamorous,” the report stated.

 

“And while it is certainly true that No Child Left Behind’s accountability system gets the

lion’s share of the attention, we would argue that these seemingly mundane provisions

may well prove more significant when it comes to what goes on in America’s schools

and school systems day-to-day,” the report added.

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Offers a New Chance to Improve Education (by Raegen T. Miller, Frederick M. Hess and Cynthia G. Brown, American Enterprise Institute and Center for American Progress) (pdf)

 

Obama’s Reforms for ESEA

President Barack Obama unveiled in 2010 a sweeping overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2001 as No Child Left Behind, which intended to change how schools were judged on their performance.

 

Many of Obama’s reforms, coming with the reauthorization of the ESEA, consisted of suggestions offered by critics of the law, including those from teachers’ unions, associations of principals, school boards, and other groups.

 

The Obama administration insisted it was committed to shrinking the achievement gap between minority and white students and encouraging teacher quality.

 

One significant change involved federal financing formulas. The reform would have altered how a portion of federal money was awarded based on academic progress, instead of relying on formulas that apportion money to districts according to their numbers of students, especially poor students.

 

Another revision would eliminate the 2014 deadline requiring that all American students reach academic proficiency.

ESEA Reauthorization: A Blueprint for Reform (U.S. Department of Education)

A Blueprint for Reform (U.S. Department of Education)

Obama to Seek Sweeping Change in ‘No Child’ Law (by Sam Dillon, New York Times)

Senate Education Panel Approves ESEA Overhaul (by Alyson Klein, Education Week)

Starting From Scratch With ESEA (by Marshall Smith, Education Week)

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Debate:

Should Common Core State Standards be scrapped?

Common Core, which promotes voluntary national standards in math and reading, came into being in 2009, when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced plans to establish such standards.

 

All but four states—Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia—signed on to the standards and agreed to help implement them by 2014. The movement was aided by President Barack Obama, who decided to link Common Core standards to billions of dollars in federal grants.

 

This decision enraged conservatives, who object to the federal government meddling in state education policy. Other critics of the standards insist they will do little to help children learn and will cost some states billions.

State Costs for Adopting and Implementing the Common Core State Standards (by Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation)

Common Core Wars – The Stakes Keep Getting Higher (BC Culture)

 

Pro (scrap them):

In a report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, it was argued that Common Core State Standards will do little to impact student learning. The study noted that states have had curricular standards for schools for many years, and that the data on the effects of these standards showed that the quality of state standards is not related to state achievement and the rigor of state standards is also unrelated to achievement.

 

Other critics expressed fear that Common Core is really not about helping students receive a better education, but lining the pockets of testing companies that contract with state education departments to provide standardized tests.

How Well are American Students Learning (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings)

Common Core Standards Drive Wedge In Education Circles (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

 

Con (keep them):

Supporters of Common Core say the standards will provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

 

They add that the standards will be designed to be “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”

 

This, in turn, will help the nation as future generations will become better prepared to compete in the global economy.

 

Furthermore, supporters dispute the notion that adopting common standards will bring all states’ standards down to the lowest common denominator.

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Myths About Content and Quality: General (Common Core State Standards Initiative)

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Comments

N Kyle 6 years ago
and here is another entity dealing with problems of native americans. frankly--they do not need that much help. they seem to be getting along just fine without our government interference. they govern themselves and are not stupid.
Eva 6 years ago
i recently moved here to texas from california. she recently graduated and i feel the transition was from california and she was not prepared to living here in texas the services here there is a 8 to 10 year waiting period! her mentally is of a four year old and only available services for her here are adult senior day care facilities! crying out for help not for myself but for her. please guide me to the right resources.
Eva Garcia 6 years ago
my name is eva garcia, i have a daughter. her name is arianna, she is mentally retarded. we recently moved to texas from california. here in texas there is a 8 to 10 year waiting list for services for special needs individuals. for my daughter to receive services i would have to commit her to a facility and award her to the state of texas so she could receive services faster. arianna has behavorial problems which alot of the facilities here in south texas are not equipped to handle....
Virginia McClanahan 7 years ago
Dear Sen. Arne Duncan, I just wanted to thank you for emphasizing the importance of our childrens' future. As an educator in the PreK-6 grade level, I too do feel that we need to integrate the arts in our public school system. I teach fourth grade as of now. I don't know what grade I'll be teaching next year, no one really does, because of the budget cuts. I also stay two days a week for extracurricular time after school for my drama club activities. The students I teach for these ...

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Founded: The OESE was established as an office within the Department of Education when it was created and set apart from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1980.
Annual Budget: $15.7 billion (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 252 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Whalen, Ann
Previous Assistant Secretary

Ann Whalen, who has worked in the Department of Education under Secretaries John King and Arne Duncan, was nominated on April 7, 2016, to be Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

Whalen is from Chicago, one of five children of attorney Wayne Whalen and Paula Wolff, a longtime player in Illinois and Chicago politics under Democratic and Republican administrations. Wolff is currently director of the Illinois Justice Project and the family is friendly with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Whalen attended Chicago schools, but went to Stanford for college, earning a B.A. in political science.

 

She returned to Chicago and in 2002 began work for the city as a project administrator in its Department of Planning and Development.

 

The following year, Whalen moved over to Chicago Public Schools, where she began her association with Duncan. Her first post was as Deputy Director for Special Initiatives working under Duncan, who was the district’s CEO. In 2006, Whalen was made Deputy to the Chief Education Officer.

 

She moved to Washington after Obama was inaugurated in 2009 to serve as special assistant to Duncan. The following year, she was named Director of the Implementation Support Unit, which gives technical assistance to states and districts that are putting reform programs in place, including the Race to the Top program.

 

Whalen left government service in 2014 to become Director of Policy for Education Post, a website dedicated to improving public schools. She returned to the Education Department in 2015 as special adviser to the Secretary, serving as acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

 

To Learn More:

Official Announcement

Ann Whalen Returns to Education Department as Senior Adviser (by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week)

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Delisle, Deborah
Former Assistant Secretary

A former elementary school teacher has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education. Deborah S. Delisle, who has stated her “firm belief that a zip code should never predetermine the quality of a child’s education,” was nominated on January 23, but the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has yet to schedule her confirmation hearing.

 

Born in Connecticut in September 1953, Delisle earned a B.S. in Education at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and an M.Ed. in Special Education at Kent State University in 1986. Delisle began her career as an elementary teacher in Connecticut in the 1970s, relocated to Ohio in 1983, and has served in many roles over the years at the school district level, including as School Principal, Director of Academic Services, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programs.

 

From 2001 to 2003, she served as Associate Superintendent for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (CHUHSD) in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, and as Superintendent from March 2004 to 2008. She then served as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department of Education from October 2008 to April 2011. The end of her tenure was controversial, for her resignation letter charged that Republican Governor John Kasich forced her out by threatening her with dismissal. In a show of support and appreciation, in August 2011 CHUHSD named a building in her honor, the Deborah S. Delisle Educational Options Center, which houses the district’s registration and assessment office for transfer students and an alternative high school.

 

Delisle has served on several education boards, including the Governing Board of the Minority Student Achievement Network, Executive Board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Board. In addition to working in primary and secondary education, Delisle has taught graduate level courses at Kent State, Ursuline College, the University of North Colorado and Simon Frasier University in British Columbia.

 

She is married to Dr. James R. Delisle, a retired professor of education who specializes in issues related to gifted children. They have one son, Matt, now an adult.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Former Ohio Schools Chief Deb Delisle Explains What Ohio Can Teach the Nation (by Molly Bloom, NPR/State Impact)

State Schools Superintendent Deborah Delisle Resigns (by Karen Farkas, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Meet Deb Delisle, Ohio’s New Superintendent (by Deborah Delisle, Columbus Parent)

Deborah Delisle Named State’s New Education Chief (by Karl Turner, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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